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It’s Wednesday morning and a half-dozen women are fastening their tool belts and setting up saw horses in front of a PCRI rental home. There’s some serious work that’s about to happen here, but the real purpose goes much deeper than what first meets the eye.
The crew that’s getting ready to install new floors in PCRI’s affordable rental home is a Trades and Apprenticeship Careers Class (TACC) from Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. The class is a free seven-week pre-apprenticeship training program that helps women prepare for high-wage, high-skill construction careers through hands-on construction experience, classroom instruction and field trips. Upon graduation, the program helps graduates with job searches, applications to apprenticeship training programs, and post-placement support.
Hands-on construction experience brings students into PCRI’s homes during the course of the class. Several groups of students will complete phases of new floor installation including removing old carpet tack strips, installing the new floor and re-installing doors and trim. At other PCRI homes, Oregon Tradeswomen students have built new fences and re-built porches and decks.
“It’s good work that offers a sense of accomplishment for our students,” said Amy James Neel, Instructor and Job Placement Specialist at Oregon Tradeswomen.
These diverse projects provide useful training opportunities for the students. Just as importantly, they help supplement PCRI’s maintenance crew in order to more quickly prepare homes for future renters.
“It’s part of our values to serve the community—not just through the hundreds of women we serve through our program, but for the many non-profits we assist,” said Dawn Jones, Training Manager at Oregon Tradeswomen. “We’re grateful to have PCRI as a consistent and true partner for us in providing a wide range of skill-building opportunities for our students that at the same time help ensure affordable housing in our Northeast community.”
While PCRI and Oregon Tradeswomen have a long history of partnership, cooperation between the two organizations is reaching new heights: including both student and paid instructor time, Oregon Tradeswomen crews have worked over 1,000 hours on PCRI projects so far in 2011.
“This is a great path for our two organizations. At the core of our efforts are affordable housing and living wage jobs,” said Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI Executive Director. “And it’s personally rewarding to see the women in these classes empowering themselves to create a better future for themselves and their families.”
Oregon Tradeswomen will offer one more 7-week TACC classes in 2011. Classes start August 30. Women interested in joining Oregon Tradeswomen’s program should visit www.tradeswomen.net or call (503) 335-8200 for more information.
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc.
6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97211
Tel: (503) 288-2923 Fax: (503) 288-2891
PCRI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization providing affordable rental housing to low-income families, primarily in North and Northeast Portland. Since 1992, PCRI's vision has been to provide affordable housing and associated services that achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and wealth creation.